It’s Wild Mushroom Season, But Please Don’t Eat Them

Wild Mushrooms

Recent rainy weather has ushered in wild mushroom season and foragers have reported an abundance of mushies popping up.

But, some mushroom foragers recently ended up in hospital due to consuming poisonous mushies.

In the past two weeks alone, eight people in Victoria have been hospitalised, with five of those admitted to intensive care, with toxic mushroom poisoning, The Age has reported. That also included a child, who has since recovered.

One person who was also admitted to the ICU has died, but experts aren’t sure if it was mushroom-related or due to an underlying condition and the coroner has been called in to investigate.

According to The Age, recent rainfall in Melbourne has caused massive growth in death cap and yellow strainer mushrooms and with more people heading into nature for their government-mandated exercise, these mushrooms are being picked and eaten. The poisons hotline has also reported an increase in calls, which have doubled when compared to this time last year.

“There are many more cases than we would normally expect for this time of year for mushroom poisoning, so this is quite unprecedented,” Victoria’s deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Angie Bone, said.

“There are more mushrooms out there so the season is longer and because people have had some of their usual activities restricted due to coronavirus concerns, people may be out and about in parks and gardens a bit more and come across them.

“Unless you are an expert, do not pick and eat wild mushrooms in Victoria.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, death cap mushrooms are responsible for 90% of mushroom-related deaths. These mushies usually grow close to oak trees and have a yellow-green sheen on top. Some can also look olive or brown coloured, SMH reports.

Death cap mushrooms also have white gills underneath the cap and grow roughly 10 to 15 centimetres in diameter. Apparently, they also bear resemblance to a straw mushroom, which is edible and used in Asian cuisine, making them even more dangerous.

According to SMH, death caps mushrooms are usually found in Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and northern Tasmania. Sydney doesn’t appear to have many death caps growing, thanks to the minimal amount of oak trees.

Death Cap Mushrooms
Death cap mushrooms. Photo: Getty.

If you do consume this deadly mushroom, symptoms will appear within six to 24 hours of eating it. According to the ABC, you’ll usually experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. After a day or two, you might begin to feel better but by then, the poison would have already caused damage to the liver, which can be fatal.

One death cap mushie has enough poison to kill one adult and there’s no way to remove the poison from the food to make it safe. Peeling and cooking doesn’t affect the poisonous content.

While we’re all out and about in nature a lot at the moment, please avoid picking the wild mushrooms you might see. The potential outcome isn’t worth it!

“A lot of people are trying new things around baking, you can speculate that perhaps people thought that picking wild mushrooms would be a novel thing to do,” Dr. Bone said.

Hit up Woolies if you’re hankering for mushrooms.

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